Cairo: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi Wednesday inaugurated a major military base off the Red Sea, the latest in a string of such facilities in the country.
Both leaders also attended the final stage of a massive military manoeuvre showing off Egypt’s multi-faceted military prowess and recently acquired state-of-the-art weaponry.
The inauguration of the Berenice Military Base, south of the Red Sea, comes amid mounting tensions in the region, including Egypt’s strife-wracked neighbouring Libya.
The UAE leader tweeted on Wednesday: “I arrived in Hamdallah to the Red Sea Governorate in Egypt to attend the opening of the “Bernice” military base “at the kind invitation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi ... We share the brotherly Egyptian people with their national, developmental and civilizational achievements.”
Egypt and the UAE have close relations with both countries leading the fight against extremism and the Muslim Brotherhood. State Egyptian television screened lived Al Sissi holding field glasses as he followed an air show.
As fighter jets were painting the three colours of the Egyptian flag in the sky, Shaikh Mohammad was seen capturing the scene with his mobile phone.
Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khaled Bin Salman also attended.
Shaikh Mohammad is a frequent visitor to Egypt. Both countries maintain close ties.
Located near Egypt’s southern border, the Berenice military base spreads on an area of 15,000 acres and houses a naval base, an air base, a military hospital, multi-purpose quays and a desalination plant.
The installation is the Middle East’s biggest naval and air base, according to Egyptian media.
The aim of the expansive base is to protect Egypt’s southern coats and tackle security challenges in the area, including shipping routes.
In 2017, Al Sissi, an ex-defence chief, opened the Mohammad Najuib military base in the western part of the country as part of a plan to upgrade the Egyptian army.
Since he took office in 2014, Al Sissi has been keen to diversify Egyptian armaments, sealing military deals with France and Russia